The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called on Time Freight management to reinstate 44 members of the National Union of Civil and Allied Workers (NUCAAW), a FEDUSA affiliate, who were suspended following an unfair disciplinary hearing at the weekend in Durban.
The workers had been called to the hearing after a week-long protest following the disappearance of one of their colleagues, Thabiso Mgobhozi, allegedly at the hands of police. Mgobhozi, who has not been seen since then, had been accused as the brains behind the strike at the firm in February by management. The workers feared that they could suffer the same fate if management did not intervene timeously.
When confronted about who had abducted Mgobhozi, Human Resources Manager Vinodh Hiralall first said it was the police, but when questioned further he said he was unsure. It was at that point that the workers told him that they feared for their own safety at their workplace as they felt that if one of their members could be taken away without their knowledge, the same thing could happen to them.
“The workers were then called to a hearing which took place on Saturday 10th June 2017. When they arrived there, they found to their surprise the absence of union representation yet lawyers representing the company were there to conduct the hearing. They refused to proceed with the session on the premise that an external Chairperson had been called in to adjudicate an internal matter. The hearing did not take place and workers felt that their existing union had sold them out to the employer,” said NUCAAW President Ronald Mkhize.
“At the hearing on the 11th of June 2017, Hiralall claimed that workers man handled him, an allegation they denied and pointed out that there were security cameras on the premises which could have captured such an incident. Management subsequently suspended 44 workers and terminated the contracts of 35 of their colleagues.
‘Thereafter the workers embarked on a strike as they felt that they were treated unfairly to which the company obtained a court interdict for unlawful conduct as all work had ceased since Sunday. Members of Time Freight have since joined NUCAAW but the employer refuses to formally recognize the union claiming union members were the unlawful conduct by the workers”.
FEDUSA is the largest politically non-aligned trade union federation in South Africa and represents a diverse membership from a variety of sectors in industry. See www.fedusa.org.za for more information.
For interviews please contact:
Cell: 082 635 9804
FEDUSA Acting President
Cell: 083 708 7733
FEDUSA Acting General Secretary
Cell: 079 696 2625